Negotiating National Identity through Social Media

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CMC Research Brownbag Series


Negotiating National Identity through Social Media


Prof. Shelley Guyton
U.S. Fulbright Student Scholar affiliated with the U.P. Diliman Anthropology Department


CMC Auditorium, UP College of Mass Communication 6 August 2013, 4:00 PM


ABSTRACT
National identity has never come easily to the Philippines; three centuries of Spanish colonization, fifty years of American occupation, and struggles between the government and People Power have ensured the Philippines’ constant renegotiation of its national culture and identity. Now, in the era of new technology and global communication, self-reflective cultivation of a national culture by Filipino people all over the world is an activity accessed collectively through social media. This project examines the use of social media, with special attention to blogging, as a tool for negotiating national identity and building collective consciousness in the Philippines.

Social media and networking platforms, like blogs and Facebook, have taken an unusually strong hold in the Philippines. In fact, the Philippines was one of the first three countries to quickly and expansively adopt Facebook when the company went global in 2007. Now, the Philippines is number seven on the list of top “Facebookers” by raw number of users, putting itself in league with larger countries like the U.S. and India. In 2010, of the 29,700,000 internet users in the Philippines, nearly all read blogs (90.3%) and over half wrote blogs (65.8%.) Issues surrounding Filipino nationality are plentiful, as seen in blogs such as Definitely Filipino, with the mission to “move forward together as a people.”

Guided by Benedict Anderson’s work, Imagined Communities, this project focuses on the following questions:

   How is the Filipino “imagined community” cultivated through the medium of social media?
   What concepts of Filipino national identity are being expressed publicly through social media?
   How are these concepts engaged publicly by social media writers and their readers?

ABOUT THE LECTURER

Shelley Guyton is a U.S. Fulbright Student Scholar affiliated with the U.P. Diliman Anthropology Department for 2012-2013. She received her B.A. in Anthropology and Literatures in English from the University of California, San Diego, where she graduated with honors and received recognition for her thesis on Filipino national identity in literature. This year, she will pursue graduate studies at the University of California, Riverside, Anthropology Ph.D program.